People lie to themselves

Headline writers should know better to listen to what voters actually say.  My alternate title for this post was “Ludicrous headlines.”  To wit:

For Mormon Voters, Romney’s Faith Is but One Factor

Seriously?!  You believe it was simply one of many factors and I’ve got a socialist president to sell you.  But Mormon voters insist that’s the case:

In more than a dozen interviews, Mormon voters in Nevada and Colorado said that while a common religion was not a major factor in their support for Mr. Romney [emphasis mine], their decision was informed by what they view as a mutual set of values and a strong sense of Mr. Romney’s background.

Give me a break.  It’s completely obvious that voters don’t want to say they are voting for someone just because he/she is a co-religionist, but just as obvious that’ s what’s going on.  A little more skeptical reporting please, than simply parroting the statements of 12 voters showing obvious social desirability bias.   Though, it’s more than just lying to the reporter, I suspect that many (though probably not all) of these people are lying to themselves.  People like to a have a self image where they are informed, thoughtful political deliberators, the idea that you are going to support somebody just because they have the same religion (or skin color) clearly runs counter to that.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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